Consignment stores and targeted marketing

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Over the weekend I indulged in a little bit of closet cleaning.  It was long overdue (like this blog post).

I decided to clear out my purse collection, and eliminate the bags I collected in my 20s.  And also try to sell off a few old favorites for maybe a bit of extra money.

After checking my storage, I had a few categories of bags:

  • “designer” bags that should have decent resale value
  • “good” bags that might be sell-able
  • hit or miss bags with uncertain market value
  • bags with zero resale potential

After that, it was time to do a little research.  The question: where could I sell these bags to, and how can I maximize the potential money I take home?

I realized I had a few choices:

  1. label conscious consignment store
  2. trendy “vintage” and resale store
  3. other consignment and resale shops
  4. donation to Goodwill or other charity

I set out to do a few errands, and made my first stop.  And my first sale.  I ended up selling a few bags to the friendly woman at the salon.  She ended up buying a few bags I had targeted for the trendy store, but I’d also rather help someone I like too.

I took the “designer” bags to the high-end accessories consignment boutique to consign.  And then I was left with my last 3 categories of bags.

I did my research ahead of time.  The store had a list of wants for the season.  And their target audience (contemporary and trendy young people).  I assumed I could get a little bit for a few bags in my stack, and then would send the rest to Goodwill.

As I waited for the clerk, I watched the other people looking to sell or exchange items for credit.  Many were unsuccessful.  Mostly because their items didn’t match up with the stores demographic.  There were retired gentlemen looking to resell their casual gear to a a store that skewed hipster, while they skewed more preppy/classic/all-american.  I guess they took “Thrift Shop” a little too closely to heart.  He would have had more success at the shop across the street that catered to an older demographic.

I fared pretty well.  My cheap and trendy bags acquired mostly at Target over the years yielded enough for lunch.  Not bad considering most of the bags came from the clearance racks 5 or more years ago.  All in all, I sold about 65% of the trendy and hit or miss bags. And as for the “designer” bags?  They were all accepted to consign, we’ll see how they fare.  Last on my list?  Finding a home for my trendy cheap jewelry.  Maybe I can fund another lunch.

A couple of key lessons for potential consigners (and campaign planners):

  1. I can’t stress this enough, know your audience, and get to know them well.  What do they like, what do they dislike and what do they want.
  2. When positioning your product, and if you realize your currently defined segment isn’t interested, determine if you have a product problem or an audience problem.  If the problem is your current audience, then find a way to reach them instead.
  3. Don’t forget to do a test run.  If you are not sure if your message will resonate, test it on a friendly audience (like a friendly salon owner) and see if you have success in a small group before applying it to everyone
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